Trillium Book Awards Author Reading 2015

Writer's block does not exist (Part 4 Final)

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Step four: Editing and final draft

Do you know the difference between a creative writer and a hobbyist? Editing. Can you handle criticism? Can you give good criticism? Can you critique your own work?

So let's list common issues with poems:

Too many fancy words?
Too many simple words?
Too many words?
Paragraph/verses in the wrong order?
Does the poem's structure lack rationale?
Are those misspellings intentional?
Words being used incorrectly?
Check spaces between words.
Do line breaks work?
Is repetition of a particular word intentional?
Do the answers for all the above match the chosen genre of writing?

Now that we have a list, let's begin to hack away!

Have you EVER rolled
down YOUR windows to smell
the aroma of AN organic
on a summer nights?

THE Ecstasy of citric
acid delight/
ROLLING tumbling down YOUR throats as
samba rhythms pulsate TO your soul.

Spit seeds
in muddy favelas; HOPING
THEY MATURE. imagine maturity --
WaitING for orchards to grow.

(I can't strike-through so I have USED CAPS. You should also be able to spot what I've added.)

I like the order, so I then asked myself a series of questions about the appropriateness of language. After that, I questioned whether my poem was as succinct as this genre of poetry (lyrical poetry) demands. Each time I asked a question I ran down the whole poem asking that singular question. I know this is difficult with prose. You'll have to multi-task through your question list. Edit each manuscript in chapters, rather than one full swoop. However, editing properly is not a speed reading exercise.

Citric dreams

Have you rolled
down windows to smell
the aroma of organic
on summer nights?

Ecstasy of citric
acid delight
tumbling down throats as
samba rhythms pulsate your soul.

Spit seeds
in muddy favelas;
imagine maturity --
wait for orchards to grow.

Dane Swan, 2014

Other than the title sucking this is a great poem. I wrote this, and the accompanying blog posts in under three hours. Why? Because writers' block does not exist (ghost do ;) ).

Did you come up with a poem that you want to share? Post it on your blog and send me a link (@danejahras) so that I can read it! Or, email me!


The views expressed in the Writer-in-Residence blogs are those held by the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of Open Book: Toronto.

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Dane Swan

Dane Swan is a Bermuda-raised, Toronto-based internationally published poet, writer and musician. His first collection, Bending the Continuum was launched by Guernica Editions in the Spring of 2011.

Go to Dane Swan’s Author Page